Giants versus Cardinals

This weekend the Cowboys and the Eagles both lost. So the Giants are a game behind those two teams. According to playoffstatus.com the Giants have a little better than 23% probability of winning the division. Assuming all teams started with a 25% probability that has not dropped that much. The big change in the division is the Redskins who at 1-5 have only a little better than 1% probability of winning the division. Dallas at 34% and Philadelphia at 41% have absorbed the 26% lost by Washington and New York.

The Giants are listed as only having a little better than 3% to make a wildcard spot. Even though Tampa Bay lost, the fact that Arizona won dropped the Giants to the seventh team out of ten in the NFC of teams missing the playoffs. Only Tampa Bay, Washington and Atlanta have less chance to secure a wild card spot in the NFC.

In week seven the Eagles play the Cowboys. The Giants host the Cardinals. If the Giants can come away with a win they will have the same record as either the Cowboys or the Eagles and still be only a game out of first.

The quarterback rating differential is the difference between a team’s passer rating in a game and the opponent’s passer rating.  Summing the game passer rating differentials for all of the Arizona and Giant games I get a -194.2 for the Cardinals and a -182.5 for the Giants.  The Giants sum includes the two games that Eli played. All of the Cardinal’s passer rating differentials were negative. The Giants had a positive differential for two of Daniel Jones’ four games.

The Giants and the Cardinals match up pretty even on paper.

Rookie Quarterback Statistics

Here are the rookie quarterbacks since 2012 that in their rookie season started 3 games and had a 60% completion rate, a 70.0 passer rating, a 3.0 passing touchdown percentage and passing yards per game of 175 yards.

 

Here are the rookie quarterbacks since 2012 that in their rookie season started 3 games and had a 60% completion rate, a 70.0 passer rating, a 2.5 passing touchdown percentage and 6.0 yards per pass attempt.

 

Here are the active quarterbacks that as rookie quarterbacks since 2012 in their first six games as starter had a 60% completion rate, a 70.0 passer rating, a 6.0 yards per pass attempt and 3 passing touchdowns.

Here are these quarterbacks sorted by decreasing rookie win percentage.

Player Year Age Draft Tm GS W L T 4QC GWD Win % Cmp% TD% Int% Rate Sk Y/A Y/G
Dak Prescott 2016 23 4-135 DAL 16 13 3 0 5 5 81.25% 67.76 5 0.87 104.9 25 7.99 229.2
Russell Wilson 2012 24 3-75 SEA 16 11 5 0 3 4 68.75% 64.12 6.6 2.54 100 33 7.93 194.9
Robert Griffin 2012 22 1-2 WAS 15 9 6 0 3 2 60.00% 65.65 5.1 1.27 102.4 30 8.14 213.3
Daniel Jones 2019 22 1-6 NYG 4 2 2 0 1 1 50.00% 60.71 3.6 4.29 74.1 10 6.58 184.2
Deshaun Watson 2017 22 1-12 HOU 6 3 3 0 50.00% 61.76 9.3 3.92 103 19 8.33 242.7
Teddy Bridgewater 2014 22 1-32 MIN 12 6 6 0 3 3 50.00% 64.43 3.5 2.99 85.2 39 7.26 224.5
Baker Mayfield 2018 23 1-1 CLE 13 6 7 0 3 4 46.15% 63.79 5.6 2.88 93.7 25 7.66 266.1
Carson Wentz 2016 24 1-2 PHI 16 7 9 0 1 1 43.75% 62.44 2.6 2.31 79.3 33 6.23 236.4
Gardner Minshew 2019 23 6-178 JAX 5 2 3 0 1 1 40.00% 63.92 4.6 1.03 97.5 14 7.43 240.3
Nick Mullens 2018 23 SFO 8 3 5 0 0 1 37.50% 64.23 4.7 3.65 90.8 17 8.31 284.6
Kyler Murray 2019 22 1-1 ARI 6 2 3 1 1 2 33.33% 64.29 2.9 1.68 87.6 21 6.99 277.3
Mason Rudolph 2019 24 3-76 PIT 3 1 2 0 33.33% 67.02 7.4 2.13 102.5 3 6.87 161.5
Marcus Mariota 2015 22 1-2 TEN 12 3 9 0 2 2 25.00% 62.16 5.1 2.7 91.5 38 7.62 234.8
Cody Kessler 2016 23 3-93 CLE 8 0 8 0 0.00% 65.64 3.1 1.03 92.3 21 7.08 153.3

 

Cardinals vs Giants Pass Defense

In Pass defense the Cardinals and the Giants rank 30th and 31st respectively in passing yards per game allowed. The Cardinals allow 281 yards per game and the Giants 285. In opposing quarterback passer rating the Giants are 25th with a 103 opposing rating and the Cardinals are 31st with a 121.8 opposing rating. In number of 20+ yard passing plays allowed the Cardinals are 30th with 25 allowed and the Giants are 32nd with 30 plays allowed. In passing average yards allowed the Giants 31st with 9.3 yard average and the Cardinals are 29th with 8.5 yards. In passing 1st down percentage allowed the Cardinals are 30th with 42.4% and the Giants are 31st with 43.1%.

Receivers

The teams match up as far as 2019 receiving yards per game. With Sterling Shepard most likely out in due to concussion protocol, the Giants and the Cardinals both have two receivers in the top fifty in receiving yards per game. The Giants have tight end Evan Engram at 22 with 74.6 yards and Golden Tate at 46 with 57.5 yards per game. The Cardinals have Larry Fitzgerald at 29 with 71.2 yards per game and Christian Kirk at 42 with 60.5 yards per game. This is assuming Evan Engram will play as he has been out with a knee injury. The Giants have two receivers high on 1st down percentage with Darius Slayton having a 75% 1st down percent on 12 receptions and Cody Core a 66.7% but on only three receptions.

Rushing

The Cardinals are fifth in average rushing yards (5.0) and the Giants are seventh (4.9). The Giants leading rusher, Saquon Barkley, has missed the last three games due to a high ankle sprain. He may be back for the Cardinal game. The Cardinals lead rusher, David Johnson, is recovering from an ankle injury and will also likely be playing on Sunday. The Giants are 13th in rushing average allowed with a 4.2 average allowed. The Cardinals are 22nd in rushing average allowed with a 4.7 average allowed.  The Cardinals have only allowed one rushing play of 20+ yards to the Giants who have allowed five. The Cardinals have only allowed two rushing touchdowns while the Giants have allowed seven. The Giants lead in rushing 1st down defense allowing only 18.8 % of rushing attempts. The Cardinals have allowed 23.4% first downs per attempt.

Scoring

The Giants are 15th in touchdowns scored with 14 for the year and the Cardinals are 22nd with 12. It happens that they are even in rushing (5) and receiving (7) touchdowns. The Giants edge is that they have scored two defensive touchdowns to the Cardinals zero.

Summary

This matchup should be a high passing yards show. If Saquon Barkley is back that would be huge for the Giants advantage. It looks like he will be. Counting on having Barkley and Engram back I give the edge to the Giants in a passing yards shootout.  Enjoy the game!

The Giants And The Draft Since Super Bowl XLVI

Since the Giants won Super Bowl XVLI in 2012 they have done comparably well in the NFL draft based on rookie performance and in retaining talent.

Here are the rookie quarterbacks since 2012 that in their rookie season

  1. started 3 games,
  2. had a 60% completion rate,
  3. a 70.0 passer rating,
  4. a 3.0 passing touchdown percentage and
  5. passing yards per game of 175 yards.

 

Here are the rookie Running Backs since 2012 that in their first six games had

  1. Yds/Rushing Att >= 4.75,
  2. Rushing Yds >= 300,
  3. Touchdowns >= 2, and
  4. Receiving Yds >= 75

 

Wide Receivers

Here are the rookie Wide Receivers since 2012 that in their first six games had

  1. Yds/Target >= 8,
  2. Receiving Yds >= 190,
  3. Receiving TD >= 1 and
  4. Catch Pct >= 55

 

Tight Ends

Here are the rookie Wide Receivers since 2012 that in their rookie season had

  1. Yds/Target >= 6,
  2. Receiving Yds >= 420,
  3. Receiving TD >= 2 and
  4. Catch Pct >= 55

 

D-Line

Here are the rookie Defensive Line players since 2012 that in their rookie season had

  1. Tackles Solo >= 30,
  2. Tackles For Loss >= 6,
  3. Sacks >= 5.5, and
  4. QB Hits >= 6

The 2019 rookies were selected based on the corresponding stats for the fraction of the season played.

Player Pos Age Year Tm G Sk Solo Ast Comb TFL QBHits
Josh Allen DE 22 2019 JAX 6 4 12 7 19 5 8
Bradley Chubb SLB 22 2018 DEN 16 12 41 19 60 14 21
B.J. Hill DL 23 2018 NYG 16 5.5 32 16 48 6 8
Darius Leonard WLB 23 2018 CLT 15 7 111 52 163 12 8
T.J. Watt ROLB 22 2017 PIT 15 7 40 14 54 10 13
DeForest Buckner LDT 22 2016 SFO 15 6 43 30 73 7 18
Aaron Donald DT 23 2014 RAM 16 9 38 10 48 18 13
Fletcher Cox DT 21 2012 PHI 15 5.5 32 7 39 8 10
Zach Brown WLB 22 2012 OTI 16 5.5 68 25 93 11 8

 

Linebackers – 3-4

Here are the rookie 3-4 Linebackers since 2012 that in their rookie season had

  1. Tackles Solo >= 40,
  2. Tackles For Loss >= 8,
  3. Sacks >= 5, and
  4. QB Hits >= 5

 

Linebackers – 4-3

Here are the rookie 4-3 Linebackers since 2012 that in their rookie season had

  1. Tackles Solo >= 60,
  2. Passes Defended >= 5,
  3. Interceptions >= 1, and
  4. Tackles For Loss >= 5

The 2019 rookies were selected based on the corresponding stats for the fraction of the season played.

Player Pos Age Year Tm G Sk Solo Ast Comb TFL QBHits Int Yds TD PD
Devin Bush LB 21 2019 PIT 6 1 32 20 52 3 1 2 6 0 3
Tremaine Edmunds MLB 20 2018 BUF 15 2 80 41 121 5 7 2 19 0 12
Roquan Smith RILB 21 2018 CHI 16 5 89 32 121 8 5 1 22 0 5
Darius Leonard WLB 23 2018 CLT 15 7 111 52 163 12 8 2 38 0 8
Stephone Anthony MLB 23 2015 NOR 16 1 70 42 112 5 4 1 5 0 5
C.J. Mosley ILB 22 2014 RAV 16 3 88 45 133 8 12 2 23 0 8
Alec Ogletree LLB 22 2013 RAM 16 1.5 95 24 119 9 1 1 98 1 10
Zach Brown WLB 23 2012 OTI 16 5.5 68 25 93 11 8 3 156 2 5
Luke Kuechly MLB 21 2012 CAR 16 1 103 61 164 12 1 2 22 0 7

 

Defensive Backs

Here are the rookie Defensive Backs since 2012 that in their rookie season had

  1. Tackles Solo >= 30,
  2. Interceptions >= 1,
  3. Passes Defended >= 5, and
  4. Tackles For Loss >= 5

Summary

Since the Giants victory in the 2012 Super Bowl, the Giants have drafted the most talented rookies. Based on the criteria used above on rookie year performance the Giants have drafted six rookie high achievers. The league average was 2.09. The next best teams are the Steelers and Rams with four rookie high achievers. Coming in at three were the Broncos, Vikings, Titans, Chargers, 49ers and Redskins. The teams below average with one are the Bengals, Jets and Seahawks. However the worst teams at zero rookie high achievers are the Cardinals, Lions, Packers, Dolphins and the Patriots, The below average teams for the most part make sense compared to their lack of success. However the Seahawks at one and the Patriots at zero are an enigma.

As for retaining the rookie wonders the Steelers lead with keeping all four of their rookie wonders. Other teams that were good retaining the rookie talent were the Chargers and 49ers who retained all three of their high achieving rookies. The average retained rookie high achievers was 1.625.  The Giants lost the most rookie high achievers with the loss of Odell Beckham and Landon Collins.

Teams that were active in acquiring other team’s rookie achievers were the Browns, Jets and the Eagles who picked up two rookie high achievers each. These three teams had high final counts on having players that were high rookie achievers due to their activity at acquiring other team’s talent.

The final counts for teams with players that were rookie high achievers in this time-frame have the Giants at top with five. they are followed by the Browns, Eagles and Steelers at four. The average across the league was 1.909.

The Giants may get a third round compensatory draft pick for the loss of Landon Collins. Other than that they got nothing. However for the Beckham trade the Giants look to have done okay. They got former first round pick safety Jabrill Peppers who was entering his third season. In addition they got two 2019 picks. With those picks they selected first rounder defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence and third rounder linebacker Oshane Ximines.

Among all rookies Lawrence is tie for fifth in sacks and quarterback hits. All rookies ahead of Lawrence in sacks are edge rushers. He is tie for tenth in tackles for loss with only one defensive tackle ahead of him. Through six weeks of the season Dexter Lawrence is Pro Football Focus’s highest graded rookie as reported by nj.com.

The other draft pick from the trade is Oshane Ximines. Ximines comes in tie for third in tackles for loss among rookies. He is also fifth among rookies in quarterback hits and sacks. Ximines is fourteenth among rookies in solo tackles.

The third player in the trade, Jabrill Peppers, is on track to have the best year of his three year career. He is second on the Giants in tackles and has one interception that he returned for a touchdown. He also has a forced fumble, three passes defended, two tackles for loss and a quarterback hit He is one of only three active defensive backs that put up those numbers six weeks into their third year over the last ten seasons.

 

For those interested in a by team list of the players I have attached the file here – high perf rookies since 2012. The color coding in the Team column is orange (1), blue (2), yellow (3), green (4) and purple (5). Under Team To column it shows the team a rookie has been lost to or yellow if still on the drafting team. The drafted column is the number of high performance rookies drafted by a team. The Remain column is how many are still on the team. The Trade/FA are the number of high performing rookies picked up by a team. The Final column is the sum of remain and pickups. It is color coded as the team column. There are averages at the bottom.

I am encouraged by what the Giants have done in the draft and keeping players or getting a good deal. As for team performance and this list. Well many teams match up with this list and their team performance. For those that don’t I attribute it to you are only as good as your weakest link. The Patriots may not have drafted a lot of high performance players but their overall team standard is probably higher than most teams.

I  hope you find the data interesting. Enjoy the week seven games!

The Giants and Any Given Sunday

From 1978 to 2019, 249 teams started the year 2-4 – the average finish of those teams was 6-10. 22 (8.8%) of them made the playoffs, 0 of them were league champions.

Next week the Giants host the Cardinals in what would be a major disappointment for Giant fans if the Giants do not get a win.

If The Giants win and go to 3-4. From 1978 to 2019, 257 teams started the year 3-4 – the average finish of those teams was 7-9. 46 (17.9%) of them made the playoffs, 1 of them were league champions. Not only does the historical playoff teams double but there was a Super Bowl Champion among them

That was the 2001 Patriots. They were starting what could be considered a rookie quarterback. Brady had only 3 pass attempts his 2000 rookie season. Also the Patriots had a second year coach. Belichick led his 2000 team to only a 5-11 record. The 2001 Patriots were 24th in the league in passing yards defense, 19th in net yards per drive on offense and 24th in net yards per drive on defense. Overall their defense was ranked 24th in the league.

Likewise the 2019 Giants are starting their rookie quarterback and have a second year coach coming off a 5-11 season. So far the 2019 Giants are 30th in passing yards defense, 19th in net yards per drive on offense and 26th in net yards per drive on defense.

Just some interesting similarities.

That 2001 season the Patriots would go on after their 3-4 start to win 8 of their remaining 9 games to finish 11-5.  The great thing about the start of a season is that all team’s are still in it. No one is mathematically eliminated.

The Giants played the 2019 Patriots tough and were still in the game into the fourth quarter. If they can hang in with the Patriots with a depleted Giant team roster, they should be able to compete against anyone. The return of Saquon Barkley will be a huge boost for the team. Golden Tate showed what a valuable player he can be. The defense showed that they can pressure the quarterback.

I think the coach needs to be more aggressive. He made some “safe” calls against the Vikings and the Pats that backfired. The run on the one yard line that resulted in a safety was one. The punt on fourth and two that netted only 30 yards and resulted in a Patriots scoring drive was another.  But he has the team unified and playing hard. Missing is the drama that seems to be rearing itself around the league.

People will take shots at fans that hope for playoff possibilities on losing teams. How dare teams under .500 hope for the playoffs! I don’t know about other teams but this Giant team comes to win every Sunday. They take it one game at a time and give 100% for four quarters. Daniel Jones going for the tackle on Kyle Van Noy’s fumble recovery to try to stop the touchdown shows what this team is made of. So does Marcus Golden’s return of the Brady fumble for 42 yards and stretching, contorting his body to get the touchdown. Don’t mind the naysayers.

It is a fan’s right to hope against the odds. The 2007 Superbowl winning Giants were preseason +3000 to win the Super Bowl. The 2001 New England Patriots were +6000. The 1999 Rams were +15,000 to win the Super Bowl. They had to rely on a former Arena football player named Kurt Warner due to quarterback injury. On any given Sunday anything can happen.

Or in the 1973 words of Yogi Bera when his Mets were in last place – “It ain’t over till it’s over”. The Mets would go on to win the division title.

 

 

 

The Giants-Patriots Recap and The Rest of The Weekend

The Giants played hard against the Patriots and stayed in the game up to the fourth quarter. That was quite a feat with a rookie quarterback, their top three offensive weapons out with injuries, down to their third string running back, playing against a Patriot defense looked on as the best defense in the league, and against one of the best coaches and quarterbacks in the league. Nevertheless the Giants lost and fell to 2-4.

Golden Tate was a bright spot for the Giants. He had six receptions for 102 yards including a 64 yard touchdown. Half of his six receptions made first down and he had a 66.7% catch rate. Tate had 51 yards after the catch which led all receivers on both teams.

On defense Lorenzo Carter and Alec Ogletree led both teams with one sack and two quarterback hits each. Patriot Kyle Van Noy was the only other player to match with 1 sack and 2 quarterback hits. Janoris Jenkins had the sole Giant interception which he returned 62 yards. Unfortunately the Patriots had three interceptions. On a positive note the Giants defense limited the three interceptions to only a single touchdown score.  Marcus Golden recovered a Brady fumble and returned it 42 yards for a touchdown. Linebacker David Mayo had a good game. His 12 tackles was tie with Ogletree for most tackles on either team. Mayo also had half a sack, a quarterback hit and eight solo tackles.

Daniel Jones had a bad day with three interceptions and only six passing 1st downs out of 31 pass attempts. However there were a lot of positive things about his play. Again he showed his toughness and competitive nature. Take for instance his nine yard run on first on twenty, his hanging in the pocket to wait for an open receiver, and his tackle attempt on the fumble recovery by New England. They all show a  spirit the team can rally around.  His competitiveness, toughness and humility are qualities of a leader at quarterback. The same traits that made Eli a leader and fan favorite. Another positive is Jones’ accuracy delivering balls into tight windows. The Patriots had the Giant receivers tightly covered and Jones delivered many passes right on target. Unfortunately the tight coverage managed to break up the pass but that does not take away from a good pass. New England had nine passes defended.

For the second week coach Pat Shurmur had a questionable coaching decision. Last week it was the running play on the one yard line that resulted in a safety. The Vikings were expecting that and stacked the line. This week it was the decision to punt on fourth and two in the fourth quarter with 7:08 left in the game. At the time the Giants needed two scores to tie the game which was 28-14. His explanation of “I felt like it was the right thing to do” does not explain much.

The Giants sit as the sixth or seventh team out of ten in the NFC of teams out of the playoffs today and looking in. The outcomes of the two games of the Buccaneers/Panthers and Cardinals/Falcons can have an impact on the Giants rising to sixth or dropping further down. For the Giant playoff hunt one would hope the Panthers beat the Buccaneers and the Falcons beat the Cardinals.

The Carolina/Tampa Bay game is in London and is on at 9:30 AM Sunday morning.

Through the first five weeks of a season Panther running back Christian McCaffrey has the second most yards from scrimmage by a running back since 1950. His 866 yards is topped only by Jim Brown’s  988 yards thru five weeks in 1963. If McCaffrey continues at this pace he will set the record for yards from scrimmage by a running back in a season. Panther second year quarterback Kyle Allen has replaced an injured Cam Newton. Allen has the fourth best passer rating in the league with a 107.4 thru three games. Although his rating has dropped significantly from the 144 rating he had his first game against the Cardinals.

Buccaneer receiver Chris Godwin leads the league in receiving touchdowns with six and is third in receiving yards with 511. For receivers with over 15 targets on the year he is fifth in yards per target with 11.88. On defense Buccaneer linebacker Shaquil Barrett is listed as questionable for the game. through five games Barrett had nine sacks and seven tackles for loss.  His nine sacks is tie for second most thru the first five weeks of a season since 1950.  Barrett would need 1.5 sacks in week 6  to maintain second place which would tie Michael Strahan. Strahan had 10.5 sacks thru week six in 2001.

The Panthers are a 2.5 point favorite. It should be a good close division rivalry game with a player on each team having a record setting season.

Enjoy the week six games and Go Panthers!

A Look at The Top Third Rookie Quarterbacks Since Eli Won A SuperBowl

Here are the starting rookie quarterbacks since the 2012 season sorted by their rookie quarterback rating. I used a minimum three games started in order to get Giant quarterback Daniel Jones on the list. I chose 2012 as it was the year following the Giant Super Bowl victory with Eli Manning as quarterback.

 

In that span the most starting quarterback rookies in a season were seven in 2012 and in 2018. The least was in 2015 when only two rookie quarterbacks started which were Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota.

By choosing three starts the notable quarterbacks not on the list and their rookie year starts are Colts Jacoby Brissett (2 starts in 2016), Panther Kyle Allen (1 start in 2018), Viking Kirk Cousins (1 start in 2012), Chiefs Patrick Mahomes (1 start in 2017) and 49er Jimmy Garoppolo (0 starts in 2014). I fel it would be unfair to compare their small sample size to the starting quarterbacks.  Of active quarterbacks on the list all started a minimum of five games their rookie year except for the current 2019 rookies.

The top third of the 37 starting quarterbacks by passer rating since 2012 include three 2019 rookies. They are Gardner Minshew, Mason Rudolph and Daniel Jones.  The season is still young and they will likely drop out of the top third but for now 2019 is the most represented year in the top third.

Of the top third all quarterbacks are still active. But of the twelve there are three sitting on the bench as backups. Those are Cody Kessler (3rd string)  on the Patriots, Nick Mullens on the 49ers and Robert Griffen on the Ravens.   Three are filling in for injured quarterbacks. Those are Gardner Minshew on the Jaguars, Mason Rudolph on the Steelers and Teddy Bridgewater on the Saints.

The remaining six projected long-term starters are Dak Prescott, Deshaun Watson, Russell Wilson, Baker Mayfield, Marcus Mariotta and Daniel Jones. Not counting Daniel Jones who is in his rookie year, the others have maintained a career quarterback rating comparable to their high rookie season.  Here is a table of how these five rookies did in their rookie year followed by their career stats.

Year Age Tm G GS QBrec Cmp% TD% Int% Y/A Y/C Y/G Rate Sk%
2016* 23 DAL 16 16 13-3-0 67.8 5 0.9 8 11.8 229.2 104.9 5.2
Career Prescott 53 53 35-18-0 66.5 4.7 1.9 7.6 11.4 235.5 97 6.7
2017 22 HOU 7 6 3-3-0 61.8 9.3 3.9 8.3 13.5 242.7 103 8.5
Career Watson 28 27 17-10-0 66.9 6.5 2.1 8.3 12.4 258.1 105.4 10.2
2012* 24 SEA 16 16 11-5-0 64.1 6.6 2.5 7.9 12.4 194.9 100 7.7
Career Wilson 117 117 79-37-1 64.6 6.1 1.8 7.9 12.2 231.1 101.5 8.4
2018 23 CLE 14 13 6-7-0 63.8 5.6 2.9 7.7 12 266.1 93.7 4.9
Career Mayfield 19 18 8-10-0 61.8 4.8 3.4 7.7 12.4 261.7 87.4 6
2015 22 TEN 12 12 3-9-0 62.2 5.1 2.7 7.6 12.3 234.8 91.5 9.3
Career Mariotta 61 60 29-31-0 63.1 4.4 2.4 7.5 11.9 215.1 90.5 8

 

It is interesting to note that for the top third rookie quarterbacks that stuck as starters that for the most part their statistical production did not change much from a good rookie season. I will follow these 2019 rookie quarterbacks as the season progresses and report these updated statistics.

Giants vs Patriots And Next Man Up

With the loss by the Giants to the Vikings the Giants have dropped in the playoff hunt from the third team on the out looking in to the sixth team out of ten on the outside in the NFC.  The good news is that the Dallas loss has the Giants still only one game out of first place in the NFC East.

The Giants are on a short week as they travel to Foxboro to play the Patriots on Thursday night. With the Patriots victory over the Redskins in week five, they are the only team to have a +20 or better quarterback rating differential in each of their games.  Their differentials are 59, 100, 56, 22 and 45. Only the Buffalo game was close where Brady had only a 45 quarterback rating. However the team still managed a +21.9 QBR differential.

The Giant’s receiver Sterling Shepard is in concussion protocol. His second time this season and is almost certainly out for the game.  Shepard is the Giants second highest receiver in yards, trailing only Evan Engram. It is uncertain if Saquon Barkley will play as he recovers from a high ankle sprain.  Evan Engram is on the injury report with a knee injury. Running back Wayne Gallman is on the injury list with a concussion he suffered week five playing the Vikings.

The next man up.

Receivers

Giant receiver Golden Tate was top ten among wide receivers for five consecutive years in Yards After the Catch from 2013 thru 2017. He led all wide receivers in 2017 in yards after the catch with 546 yards. His average was 5.93 YAC per reception. He was second in 2016 with 588 YAC and he had a 6.46 YAC per reception. In 2015 he was fourth with 525 YAC and he had an average 5.83 YAC per reception. In 2014 he was first with 691 YAC and he had an average 6.98 YAC per reception. He was eighth in 2013. His catch percentage over those years was 69.6%. That was the second best catch percentage over that time-frame among receivers with 400+ receptions.

 

Darius Slayton was sixth among wide receivers at the 2019 NFL combine in the forty yard dash with a 4.39.  He was third in the vertical jump with a 40.5 and also third in the broad jump with an 11’3:”.  His 7.0 in the three-cone was ninth among wide receivers. Slayton met or exceeded wide receiver combine target numbers in seven of his eight drills missing only the bench press by one rep. In college in 2017 Slayton was fifth in the nation in yards per reception with 22.2 yards. He was 17th in yards per reception in 2018 with 19.1. In 2018 he was tie for eighth in the nation in 50+ yards receiving plays with four. In his final game at Auburn Slayton had three receptions for a total 160 yards and three touchdowns. In 2018 49% of his receptions were for 15+ yards. So far in his rookie season on the Giants Slayton has nine receptions for a 17.4 yards per reception average and a 13.1 yards per target average. His catch percentage is 75% and he has one receiving touchdown. Among rookies his 75% catch percentage is tie for second best for players with a minimum 100 yards receiving.

 

In his last year in college in 2013 Cody Latimer had 1,096 receiving yards. That was a 30% team market share of receiving yards which historically shows a strong correlation to NFL Pro-Bowl achievement.  His receiving yards was 32nd in the nation. His 15.2 yards per reception that year made the top 100 in the nation. He had nine receiving touchdowns which was 30th. His 91.3 yards per game was 22nd in the nation. Latimer had 48 receiving plays of 10+ yards which was 15th in the nation. At his combine/Pro Day Latimer hit all wide receiver target numbers for the five events he participated. His 4.44 forty time would have been tie for tenth among wide receivers at the combine. His 23 bench press reps was first among wide receivers. Latimer’s 39″ vertical jump would have been sixth at the combine among wide receivers. In his last year at Denver in 2017 Latimer was one of only eight wide receivers that had a 60% catch percentage, 15+ receptions, 2+ receiving touchdowns and 15+ yards per reception.

 

Running Backs

Running back Jon Hilliman is one of 80 college players last season that had six rushing touchdowns, a 4.0+ rushing average, 60+ rush attempts and 85+ receiving yards. At his Pro Day he met running back target numbers for six of his eight events. His numbers would have been top fourteen among all running backs at the combine in all events. He would be sixth in the forty yard dash,  fifth in the 20 yard shuttle and eighth in the 3-cone. Among 17 rookie running backs that have played Hilliman ranks 13th in yards per attempt with a 2.79 yard average on 19 attempts.  Hilliman here goes 73 yards for the touchdown in a 2016 Boston College vs Georgia Tech game.

 

In his 2015 senior year in college running back Elijhaa Penny had 1,398 yards from scrimmage. That was good for a 27% team market share of yards from scrimmage. According to draftcobern.com, 98% of long-term starting NFL players reached this level of market share production since 1969. That senior year Penny had six of his twelve games with 98+ rushing yards. Over the span of his three year career (2017-2019) Elijhaa Penny is one of only 25 backs that have 150+ rushing yards, 2+ rushing touchdowns, a 3.8+ yard rushing average and an 80% or better catch percentage.  Just for laughs both Ezekiel Elliott and Saquon Barkley failed to make that list due to a catch % in the seventies. Here they are sorted by rushing yards per game.

 

Tight End

Rhett Ellison‘s receptions per game have doubled since coming to the Giants from the Vikings in 2017. His catch percentage is up 10% and he is second on the Giants in broken tackles on receptions. His 3.5 receptions per broken tackle leads the team. At his 2012 Pro Day Ellison met tight end drill target numbers for five of his seven events. Over his time on the Giants (2017-2019) Ellison is one of only eight tight ends that have had a 70% or better catch percentage, 3+ receiving touchdowns, a 7+ yards per target and 50+ receptions. As of this writing Evan Engram was listed as limited participation in practice on Tuesday.

 

Final Thoughts

The Giants are 16.5 underdogs against the Patriots for Thursday night. As reported by ESPN last year the Patriots had the second biggest point spread of recent years back in 2011 when they played a winless Colts team led by fifth round quarterback Dan Orlovsky subbing for an injured Peyton Manning. The point spread was 20.5.  The Colts came back from a 31-3 deficit in the 3rd quarter to pull within one touchdown in a 31-24 loss. I am not expecting a Giant victory but the game does present the Giants the opportunity to shock the football world with a stunning upset. The Giants players and coaches are playing to win. It is the big stage on Thursday night and the next man up players are probably psyched for the opportunity. As ex-Jets coach Herm Edwards emphasized in an old press conference shown below – “You Play to Win the Game!”. As a Giant fan I will be rooting for a Giant upset. They do have some history of that playing the Patriots!

Week Five, The Giants And Yards After The Catch

In Pro Football Reference’s advanced passing stats Giant quarterback Daniel Jones ranks fourth in passing yards after catch per completion with a 6.7 YAC/Completion. This stat is probably a combination of a quarterback hitting the open receiver, leading him to facilitate yards after the catch and the skill of the receivers to gain extra yards and break tackles.

In week three tight end Evan Engram was fourth in YAC/Reception with a 14 yards after the catch average. Engram had six receptions which was three more than any player with a higher yards after the catch per reception. In week four Engram was sixth with 10.1 yards after the catch per reception.  For the season Engram is ninth in the league with 190 yards after the catch.

Sterling Shepard had a decent 5.9 yards after the catch in week three on seven receptions and followed that with 4.5 YAC/Reception in week four  on seven receptions. His week three YAC/Reception was 17th among all wide receivers that week.

Sterling Shepard leads all Giant receivers in broken tackles with four and he missed one game. Shepard is tie for seventh in broken tackles in the league. and is 16th in Receptions per broken tackle with one every five receptions. Tight end Rhett Ellison leads all Giant receivers in Receptions per Broken tackle getting a broken tackle every three receptions on average.

Darius Slayton was 23rd in the league in week three with 5.4 yards after the catch per reception on three receptions. His 4.39s in the forty at the combine was sixth best among wide receivers. Slayton’s 19 yards per reception leads all Giants and his long reception of 46 yards is second best on the team.

Running Back Wayne Gallman has 88 YAC on the year on nine receptions for a 9.8 YAC/Reception. That is good for ninth best among all receivers on the season.

This week the Giants get back Golden Tate from suspension. Yards after the catch has been Tate’s career strong point. In 2017 on Detroit Tate led all wide receivers with a 546 YAC for the regular season. He was second among wide receivers in 2016 with 588 YAC.

This Giant team is geared for the quick short pass and has the play-makers to turn those into big yards. Quarterback Daniel Jones has the arm and accuracy to keep the defense honest by taking the occasional deep shot. Daniel Jones is third in the league in 20+ passing plays per pass attempt. Only Jimmy Garoppolo and Patrick Mahomes average more 20+ passing plays per attempt and Jones is not far behind Mahomes. Here are the top ten quarterbacks by 20+ yard plays per attempt.

Player Team Comp Att Lng 20+ 40+ Rate 20+/Att
Jimmy Garoppolo SF 58 84 39T 13 0 96.3 15.48%
Patrick Mahomes KC 106 156 83T 22 8 120.4 14.10%
Daniel Jones NYG 49 71 75T 10 2 95.9 14.08%
Philip Rivers LAC 101 146 55T 20 2 105.8 13.70%
Matthew Stafford DET 88 141 47T 19 1 102.6 13.48%
Lamar Jackson BAL 87 134 83T 18 4 109.4 13.43%
Russell Wilson SEA 114 156 54 20 5 126.3 12.82%
Baker Mayfield CLE 82 139 89T 17 3 77.2 12.23%
Dak Prescott DAL 92 127 62 15 3 113.7 11.81%
Marcus Mariota TEN 74 119 75T 14 5 106.2 11.76%

I look forward to seeing how Golden Tate contributes to the offense. Sterling Shepard is a tough talented receiver that fights hard for those extra yards. The same is true for Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison. Slayton is a speedster that can help on the deep pass. Gallman has good hands and is a strong weapon on short passes for good yardage. This team has the offensive weapons to be competitive in any game. Go Giants!

Quarterback Rating Differentials Thru Four Weeks

With one quarter season of NFL football in the books I took a look at the team’s quarterback rating differential. The league has become a passing league. A quarterback rating is attributable to more than just the quarterback. He obviously plays a large role but the talent of the offensive line and the skills positions also will enhance or decrease a quarterback rating. On defense the whole team plays a part in affecting the opponent’s quarterback rating.

Per game I took the difference between the team’s quarterback rating and the opponent’s rating. I looked at all teams for every game in the first four weeks. I highlighted games that had a 20+ quarterback rating difference. Team’s on the negative side of that difference were dinged for a poor game and team’s on the positive side of the difference were credited with an excel game.

Seven team’s had zero poor games and twelve team’s had zero excel games. Here are the seven teams that had zero poor games and the number of excel games they had. For each team I list the teams that they excelled over. Good teams excelled over are highlighted in blue. The criteria for a “good team” designation is arbitrary based on my gut feel four weeks into the season.

Team Poor Excel Teams Excelled Over
NWE 0 4 BUF NYJ MIA PIT
GNB 0 3 CHI MIN DEN
SEA 0 3 CIN PIT ARI
DAL 0 2 NYG MIA
DET 0 2 KAN ARI
SFO 0 2 TAM CIN
PHI 0 0

 

The Giants and the Panthers are two teams that since making a quarterback switch have zero poor games and one excel game.

Here are the teams with a mixed bag of poor and excel games sorted by excels descending and then poor ascending.

Team Poor Excel
KAN 1 3
JAX 1 2
TAM 1 2
TEN 1 2
BAL 1 1
BUF 1 1
CAR 1 1
CHI 1 1
HOU 1 1
LAR 1 1
MIN 1 1
OAK 1 1
NYG 2 1
PIT 2 1

The following table has the twelve teams that had zero excel game sorted by descending poor games.

Team Poor Excel Teams Excelled By
ARI 3 0 DET CAR SEA
CIN 3 0 SEA SFO PIT
MIA 3 0 BAL NWE DAL
ATL 2 0 MIN TEN
WAS 2 0 CHI NYG
CLE 1 0 TEN
DEN 1 0 GNB
IND 1 0 OAK
LAC 1 0 HOU
NOR 1 0 LAR
NYJ 1 0 NWE
PHI 0 0

 

Five Comments on the Data

  1. The Packers in the NFC and the Patriots in the AFC appear to have the best standing in quarterback rating differential. The Seahawks have as many games as the Packers but they were against lesser opponents. In fact one could argue the Packers have done better than the Patriots when comparing opponents each team excelled against. Because of this and being a Giants fan I like the Packers to win  in the Sunday afternoon game against the Cowboys.
  2. Since switching quarterbacks both the Panthers and the Giants have done well in the quarterback rating differential. Both having an excel and zero poor. The Giants have a big test Sunday against the Vikings. If they pull off the upset they will rise considerably in power ranking lists. I am optimistic that the Giants can pull the upset.
  3. The Chiefs are at three excels and one poor. Mahomes had an 81 quarterback rating to Mathew Stafford’s 118.6 in week four. The Chiefs went on to win that game anyways at 34-30. The Chiefs won all four games and excelled against two good opponents in the Ravens and Jaguars. They deserve to be in the conversation along with the Patriots as the best in the AFC from a quarterback differential view.
  4. On the winless teams of MIA, NYJ, DEN, CIN, WAS and ARI the best  looks to be the Broncos. Only the Jets and the Broncos on that list have only one poor game from a quarterback differential view. Both the Jets and the Broncos had their poor game against good teams of the Packers (DEN) and the Patriots (NYJ). Denver played the Bears and Jaguars close.
  5. The Colts play their games close. They had three of their four games with a quarterback differential of 3 points or less. Those three games were decided by an average of 3.6 points with a 6,2 and 3 point score differential.

For those interested here is the data. The first worksheet  of Weeks Differential  shows each week and all the games with the QBR differential in the far left column. The other sheet of QBR differential Summary shows a summary. The Poor game teams are shown in orange and their excel team opponent in yellow for each week. Summary tables are shown to the right.

 

One More Game for Giants Playoff Hunt

I discussed the Giant’s playoff hunt game here Week Five And The Giant Playoff Hunt  and the Giant/Viking game as well as the Seahawks/Rams game. I did not discuss the Cowboys/Packers game. With the Cowboys loss last week and another Giant victory the Giants are only a game behind the Cowboys but would lose the tiebreaker. So a few words on my hope for the Cowboys game are in order.

Green Bay has a good pass defense and I hope they get to Dak Prescott and limit his production on Sunday. The Packer’s outside linebacker duo of Preston Smith and Za’Darius Smith have combined for 7.5 sacks and 15 quarterback hits this season. The Packers quarterback hits puts them at the third most by a starting lineup in the NFC. The leaders are Tampa Bay with 27 and the Vikings with 21. However the Packers have the majority of their hist with the linebacker duo of the Smiths.

Green Bay defense has the fourth best opponent passer rating with a 73.2. They are topped by the Patriots, Bills and 49ers in order. The Packers opponent’s season passer ratings are 85.5, 88.6, 90.4 and 94.5.  So they have dropped by 12 to 21 points when playing the Packers. The Packers opponent 1st down passing percentage is 53% which is the sixth lowest in the league. Green Bay has given up the fourth lowest passing yards this season with a 188 passing yards per game average. They are in a six way tie for the fourth lowest opponent passing touchdowns with only four allowed in four games. Green Bay is ninth in sacks with 12 for the season. They are fourth in opponent pass completion percentage with a 57.1%. The Packers have four interceptions this season which is tie for fifth best.

So here is to the perfect trifecta this weekend for Giants fans

  1. Seahawks over Rams (Thursday night)
  2. Giants over Vikings (Sunday early game)
  3. Packers over Cowboys (Sunday late game).

 

Week Five And The Giant Playoff Hunt

Well the Giants had a nice victory over the Redskins. In addition the Bears beat the Vikings which was the better outcome for the Giant playoff hunt. The Giants maintained their position as the third team on the outside looking in. However they improved in that they are no longer tie for that position. The two teams ahead of them on the outside are the Rams and the Lions.  This is based on the probabilities as stated on playoffstatus.com.

In the Giant victory over the Redskins the Giants maintained their active streak of games with 200+ passing yards. They move to seven games in the streak and are still the third place team for this active streak. In addition the Giants broke their active streak of allowing 200+ passing yards. Washington had only 121 passing yards. The Giant streak ends at five games. The Giants maintain their streak of games with 3+ sacks which now stands at three games. They are one of five teams with a 3+ sack streak at three games.

The Giants play the Vikings next week. There have been rumblings knocking Viking quarterback Kirk Cousins for his performance and his mega quarterback deal.  However Cousins is not to be taken lightly. Over last season and this season Cousins has the most games with a 70% or better completion percentage (13) and is one of only three quarterbacks with an active streak for completion % over 70 with two games. He is tie for eighth over last season and this season for games with a 90+ quarterback rating (13)  and is one of only nine quarterbacks that have an active streak for this (2 games). One knock on Cousins came from his ability to make the deep pass. This year Cousins comes in at 20th among week 3-4 starting quarterbacks in air yards per completed pass at 5.7 yards.  Giant quarterback Daniel Jones comes in at 26th with 5.1 air yards per completion.

The Vikings are one of five teams that have allowed 16 or less points in three games this season. However the Vikings rank 25th in passing yardage margin with a -198 yards. On the flip side the Giants rank 15th with a -21 yard passing margin. It evens out in the run game where the Vikings are fourth with a 244 rushing margin and the Giants are 13th with a 77 rushing margin. the Vikings are sixth in total yards allowed per game with 312 yards and the Giants are 23rd with 389 yards allowed.

Rushing

Rushing is the Vikings strong suit. They have the second most games this season in rushing for 150+ yards with three of their four games. Viking running back Dalvin Cook is second in rushing yards this season (410) and first in rushing touchdowns (5). Among backs with 16 rushing attempts on the season Cook is sixth in rushing yards per attempt with 5.77. For starting backs he is third in yards per attempt and his total yards is 80 yards over the next back. Cook is the only back this season to have three games with a minimum 5 yards per attempt and a rushing touchdown.

The Giants are one of only eight teams that have held opponents to less than 5 yards per rush attempt in all four games, one of 17 teams to hold opponents to zero rush touchdowns in two games and one of 18 teams to hold opponents to less than 90 rushing yards in two games. The Giants are tenth in opponent rushing average with 3.88 yards per attempt allowed. They are tie for ninth in 20+ rushing plays allowed with only two.  There are 19 teams at ninth or better. The Giants are eighth in longest rushing play allowed with a 25 yard play. They are fifth in rushing 1st down percentage with a 17.7%

Passing

The Giants are one of only nine teams that have four games this season with 200+ passing yards. Evan Engram is one of nine players to have 2 games of 100+ receiving yards. He is one of only 12 players with a minimum 12 season targets to have a game with a 70% or better catch percentage. There are 13 players that had three games this season with 6+ receptions. The Giants and the Chargers are the only team to have two players in the 13. Both Evan Engram and Sterling Shepard had three games and Shepard only played three games. Daniel Jones is one of only twelve quarterbacks that have at least two games this season with 200+ passing yards, 60% completion percentage, a passing touchdown, a 75+ passer rating and a win. Jones is the only quarterback on that list that did it for every game he started this season.

The Vikings are second in opponent yards per pass completion with an 8.2 average. They are ninth in passing yards per game allowing 218 on average. The Vikings are fifth in 20+ yard passing plays allowed giving up only 10 for the season. However they are 17th in average opponent passer rating at 96.7 and 25th in opponent passing 1st down percentage at 65.4%. Their sack percentage of 6.96% is fourteenth.

Other Games of Interest

The Lions are one team ahead of the Giants of teams on the outside looking in for a playoff spot. However the Lions have a bye week this weekend.

The other team on the outside looking in ahead of the Giants are the Rams. They play the Seahawks this Thursday in what looks like a good matchup.

Russell Wilson of the Seahawks ranks second in passer rating with a 118.7. While Jared Goff of the Rams ranks 25th with an 82.9 rating. On the flip side the Rams are seventh in opponent average passer rating with 81. While the Seahawks are 16th with 95.3. Russell Wilson is one of three quarterbacks this season that has a passer rating of over 100, a completion percentage over 70% and a yards per pass attempt of over 8 yards.

 

In yards per rush attempt the Rams are 19th with a 4.1 average. The Seahawks are 20th with a 4.0 average. In rush defense the Rams are ninth giving up an average 3.8 yards and the Seahawks are 16th giving up a 4.2 average.

These should be two good games. Go Giants and Seahawks!!!